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Yamaha leans toward leaning motorcycles

Yamaha MWT9 tilting three-wheeler concept robot

Yamaha MWT-9

It seems Yamaha is about to go into the production of a leaning three-wheeler version of its popular Masters of Torque MT-09.

The Japanese company revealed the leaning MWT-9 trike at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show and officials have now hinted at the recent launch of the MT-03 in Spain that the leaning trike based on the MT-09 would go into production.

There has also been talk of a four-wheeler leaning bike as shown in this official video of the OR2T prototype being tested.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MxSwgpMS6U?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&w=720&h=405]

Both leaning multi-wheelers follow on from their Tricity production three-wheel scooter launched in 2015.

Yamaha Australia marketing guru Sean Goldhawk says Tricty sales have been disappointing.

“But it is always challenging when you are introducing new technology,” he says.

“We have traditionally struggled to get a foothold in the scooter market, so whether Tricity sales are a factor of it being in the scooter category or whether slow response to the new model is down to the new LMW technology is hard to tell.

“One thing is certain – the LMW concept works. It is supremely confidence inspiring. The key will be offer demo rides to our customers, because once they understand how well the concept works they will be much more comfortable with owning such a device should it make production.

“Aussies are typically early adopters of new technology so I would anticipate healthy interest (in the MWT-9) – if it happens.”

Yamaha has been developing its leaning suspension technology since the Tesseract four-wheeler concept in 2007.

Yamaha four-wheeler

Yamaha Tessaract

Advantages of leaning multi-wheelers is the extra tyre footprint on the road for improved grip and their stability over uneven surfaces.

On the Tri-City scooter launch ride I even rode one at an angle over a gutter without any adverse steering reaction.

It makes these a great proposition for the urban environment with its slippery surfaces and footpath parking.

The disadvantages are that the complex suspension is more expensive, it makes the bike heavier and you have extra tyre wear.

Yamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycle

Yamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycle

Another disadvantage is that they can be as ugly as sin! The MWT-9 isn’t as bad as the OR2T, though.

There is a growing trend toward three-wheelers, particularly in the US, sparked by growth in returning riders and ageing riders.

Many auto manufacturers are also now making or developing leaning multi-wheeled vehicles including Piaggio and even car manufacturer Toyota because they believe they are safer than conventional two-wheeled motorcycles.

Toyota iRoad leaning three-wheeler

Toyota iRoad leaning three-wheeler

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